PACKING
10
Emotions
and behind the
scenes of
the Tour de France
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You probably know yourself how tricky is it to go on holiday with your favorite bike. It never seems like there can be enough space in your car to get everything packed correctly. You have to mix between your favorite energy drinks, replacement parts and different colored kits amongst countless other items. Think about team logistics with 9 riders, spare bikes and wheels, mechanic’s tool kits and the nutrition required for just one day of racing, all of which often times is stuffed into the same car.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

↥ CLOCKWORK

Every morning, the same ritual begins again and again. A Soigneur fills car number 2 with a huge nutritional and after race clothing load while a mechanic will use the remaining free space to put in some spare wheels, parts and tools. Additionally, they will put between 5 to 9 bikes on the roof.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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At 11:00AM, it is time for riders to reach the start line. The car is now completely packed and 3 staff members take their place on the free seats. They will spend 6 hours in this tiny space, following the race, helping the riders in case of a mechanical or just giving them precious advice on race strategy.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

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When crossing the finish line, a Soigneur sorts out the riders’ bags and grabs the last fresh water bottles to distribute them to the riders who just finished another exhausting day. The car goes back to the team hotel to be unpacked, washed and cleaned for the next stage.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

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The past 10 days have provided for an incredible start, some people say the toughest one of the modern Tour de France. After only 10 stages out of 21, riders are already feeling the first signs of fatigue while a few big names and team leaders were forced to quit the race due to injuries.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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How is it possible? The weather and the nerves are probably the most prevalent factors but the incredible start, the incredible variety from the first 10 stages definitely plays its part.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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If you were unfortunate enough to miss the action from the first few stages, just take a look at the riders themselves. Most of the peloton is sporting bandages. From knees to thighs and elbows, it seems that the riders are spending a lot more quality time with the ground than expected.

Photo: TDWsport.com

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This is a cruel and terrible relationship. As much as a rider may love the road, under certain circumstances, the road is in charge and takes no prisoners.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

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Recover